Dan Green’s Poem

In the beginning,
darkness blinded the earth,
the sky was a burning black,
and the land was a barren ball
of molded dust and cold breathless silence.

Then across the reaches of time and space,
sunlight stretched out fingered waves,
and caressed the world
in a golden glowing blanket.

With the sun came life,
and my spirit was born.
It flew on beams of hope,
and danced across the heavens,
Like the raven walking on the wind.

Love was in me,
my being was blown
through the valley grasses,
riding high and open
on the ocean plains.

I whispered secrets to the mighty mountain,
and floated free like magic dust
above its' green forest feathers.
I colored the bouncing seas
with swarms of silver fins.
I sliced the white puffed sky
on wings of soaring pride.

I danced in fertile valleys
with horns of prancing freedom.
I ate from kinshipped streams
with swift and noble friends.
I laughed and played
on black beaks of mischief.
I howled love songs to the moon
with praying packs of midnight choirs.

I was born to the Earth Mother and the Sky Father.
My nature was all around me.
I was tied to its mystic rhythms,
and knew who I was without asking.

My young spirit sprayed the universe and I became what I am
at peace with all things
at peace with me.

II.

But like all seasons all things change,
with lightning force they came.
They arrived in search as all men do,
vaulting seas and prairies with righteous reason.

In salmon hoards with tongues of greed,
on white walls of sail bursting in the wind.
They called me savage and scorned my gods.
Then took my land in the name of their own.

They stole my spirit with a gold button,
a pouch of smoking weeds and a musket
that killed the living breath,
and buried the peaceful silence of my soul.

They gave me sickness I had never known,
and I died a thousand deaths.
They gave me laws to bring me order,
and filled my life with wandering pain.
They gave me schools that stole my tongue,
and cast my worlds to the wailing wind.
They gave me land that once was mine,
and built new walls to lock me in.
They gave me rights and called me free,
but my spirit is imprisoned
in the feelings they have taken from me.

My tired heart battled the universe
and I became what I am,
in conflict with many things
in conflict with me.

I fought to save my shrinking self
and I was eaten by hungry giants
so blind they devoured their own wisdom,
so deaf they could not hear
the cruelty of their trampling footsteps.

III.

Where am I going?
I am caught between what I have become
and what I need to be.
Without my spirit I have lost myself,
drowning in a whirling waterfall.
I twist and toss to master the roaring riddle,
like the Coho leaping ladders toward life.
But my head lacks vision in the current
My meaning is hidden from my heart.

Come live like me cries the ghostly giant
I'll show us who you are.
Take my gifts, they will set you free.
They'll make you mine and you'll be me.

My thoughts cannot fit in a head
they weren't made for.
I can be no one else but myself.
I don't belong in this place.
I AM DYING.
Yet I am here.
I must find the ways to be strong,
And I will.

My spirit will return if I summon.
My heart will shine and dazzle in the sun.
My hope will become fire in the starlight.
My strength will give me power to be one.

I must know where it is that I come from.
I must care enough to protest
the taking of my past and my future,
and the feeling I'm not human, not able,
not as much
as those who smother my smoldering soul.

I am a person.
I can laugh.
I can weep.
I can hate.
I can love.
I am born.
I shall live.

I am Indian.
I shall survive.

My wisdom shall conquer the universe,
I shall become again what I am
at peace with all things
at peace with me.

Poem by Dan Green